Have you noticed the disconnect between reality and expectations for housing options in the Baby Boomer crowd?

A recent AARP study, for example, found a massive disconnect between perceptions of aging and its reality. The vast majority of people surveyed expressed optimism that they would not only be in good physical health in their later years, but that they would always be able to drive.

Source: Sightline Daily – Boom Towns

For all the focus on “lifestyle” in this demographic, heck there’s even magazines touting the boomer lifestyle, not too much consideration is being given to realistic age-friendly housing.

Something that I see all too often is the construction of large multi storey houses with long or steep driveways away from the centre of town or bus routes. Who is going to plow the snow from the driveway? Are you going to feel safe walking up or down the driveway when it is slippery? How are you going to look after all that house? What happens when the stairs are too much for you? How are you going to get into town?

Now, I understand that much of the existing housing stock may not meet all of the criteria we would wish for in an age-friendly development, but it is ridiculous that we continue to permit poorly laid out housing. It is a waste of energy and materials and, for the moment, continues to perpetuate the myth that as we age we will remain as mobile as we were in our youth.

I get the sense that this is a really unpopular topic among almost all generations, and one that is not being adequately addressed by the Building Code, Municipalities or planners in general.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.